Vets perform rare blood transfusion to save tiger

Indian vets have carried out a rare blood transfusion on a seven-month-old tiger in a desperate effort to save the animal's life after it was attacked by angry villagers.

The female tiger - still technically a cub - was provided with blood from two adult tigers being held in captivity after she and her sister were rescued by wildlife officials after being beaten by the villagers in Maharashtra, in central India. As is often the case in this country, the villagers were fearful that the two animals were poised to attack children and cattle.



"The cubs were in bad shape at the time they were rescued. They were starving," said Bimal Majumdar, the chief wildlife officer in the region. "The villagers had also beaten them with sticks so they were injured as well."



The cub that required the transfusion - named Juhi after a fragrant white flower that is native to India - was yesterday said to be in a serious condition in a zoo in the city of Nagpu. Juhi and her sister, Jai, were rescued two weeks ago after they were apparently abandoned by their mother and then attacked.



At Nagpur, Juhi underwent what is believed to be the first such blood transfusion of its type. Increasingly concerned about her condition and her falling haemoglobin levels, officials sent a request to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, where doctors tranquilised two adult tigers and drew three-fourths of a pint of blood from each of them.



"The blood grouping procedure is critical, but in India there has been no work done on blood groups," Vinery Jangle, the park’s head veterinarian, told the Associated Press. "There are no studies on blood types and wild tigers."



At the beginning of the 20th century, India’s tiger population was estimated to be as large as 100,000. But last year The Independent revealed how Indian officials had been informed that the numbers had fallen to as low as 1,300 animals. For a nation that is home to perhaps 80 per cent of the world’s wild tigers, the revelation was staggering and the government undertook to take more steps to preserve the animal and its habitat.



But India’s growing population and the spread of urban areas is increasingly putting humans into contact with tigers. As a result, many villagers see tigers as a deadly menace rather than something to be preserved and treasured.



At the same time, large numbers of tigers fall victim to poachers providing the East and South-East Asian trade in rare animals parts and furs. For all its promises, the Indian government has yet to effectively address the issue of poachers. There are also other challenges the tigers of South Asia; in the Sunderbans - the delta region of India and Bangladesh - rising sea levels is destroying tiger habitat and placing them in increased contact with humans.



The rarity of the animals explains the efforts that officials were prepared to take to try and save Juhi. Pandurang Munde, director of the wildlife part in Mumbai, said: "We needed to save the young one’s life. If the hemoglobin was low, there was only one remedy - blood transfusion."



Last night, Juhi was being closely monitored. She was attached to a saline drip and CCTV had been installed so that officials could watch her health around the clock. "She is still not in good shape," said Mr Majumdar. "So we have our fingers crossed."



Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'